Access to drinking water and sanitation facilities is one of the main basic conditions for socio-economic development. While the percentage of people with access to clean water globally is growing, the opposite has been happening in Central Asia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although Tajikistan is endowed with abundant water resources, its rural and mountainous populations are facing serious difficulties in terms of public health. The civil war, which ended in 1997, had a major impact on eastern Tajikistan's population and its infrastructure, in particular the Eastern Khatlon region and the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) where the SDC is focusing its activities.
Access to drinking water: a challenge in Tajikistan
In Tajikistan, the poorest country in Central Asia, half of the 8.5 million inhabitants do not have access to drinking water. In mountainous and rural regions, the figure reaches 80%. This situation poses a serious risk to public health. The SDC's project on 'Safe drinking water and sanitation management in Tajikistan' (SWSMT) focuses on access to drinking water and sanitation in the east of the country.
Public sector policy
- 70’000 population in approx. 80 communities in the Eastern Khatlon and GBAO
- Government bodies, Family Medicine/Primary Healthcare centres, and schools
- Community water management bodies, including Water User Committees and Water User Associations, state district units, and private water management bodies
- Rural population in targeted areas has sustainable and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation and adopts healthy behavior
- Community, state, non-state actors manage sustainable water and sanitation systems
- Enhanced policy and legal environment for sustainable and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water, sanitation and hygiene is in place
- Improved water supply systems constructed and water quality tested
- Improved community latrines installed and households incentivised to build private latrines as demonstrations of best hygiene practice
- Capacity building activities delivered to increase awareness and improve practices related to health, hygiene and sanitation
- Inclusive, disaster resilient water and sanitation management systems and institutions strengthened /established at the community level with active participation of women and youth
- Policy reform recommendations developed with inputs from communities including women's groups and followed up at existing national and district policy dialogue platforms
- Agha Khan Foundation
- Foreign private sector North
The marginalized mountainous areas in Tajikistan are challenged with the lack of access to reliable and safe drinking water, sanitation and health services. Some 380’000 people in the Eastern Tajikistan are using water from open sources (canals, rivers etc.), suffering from water borne diseases and over-whelming women and children with additional workload for water fetching and extra efforts to ensure basic domestic sanitation. This further limits their development perspectives, causes education and health challenges. In the same time women have limited possibilities to improve the situation as the infrastructure development and maintenance are traditionally male tasks. Difficult socio-economic situation, existing social inequalities and the inability of the Government to deliver basic services such as water supply result in a growing discontent of people. The limited access to drinking water and sanitation hits the poor population most.
The overall goal of the project is to improve quality of life of rural population through sustainable mechanisms of water and sanitation management in Eastern Khatlon and Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO).
The project’s target group are:
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
|Coordination with other projects and actors||
The project will create synergies/coordination with other Swiss funded WASH projects and embrace an open and pluralistic approach to partnership, including government ministries and agencies, local authorities, international organizations, UN agencies, INGOs, civil society and the private sector. The effective policy dialogue at both the national and local levels will act as the primary forum to encourage and manage partnership opportunities with all relevant stakeholders.
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 5'300'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 3'605'121|
|Project phases||Phase 1 01.03.2017 - 28.02.2021 (Current phase)|
An obstacle to development
Compounded by substantial population growth, the following problems are increasing in eastern Tajikistan:
Spread of waterborne diseases such as typhoid and diarrhoea;
Significant amount of time invested by women and children in order to fetch water, to the detriment of time that could be spent on income-generating or educational activities.
The state commits few resources to build new facilities. 60% of the existing infrastructure does not function and there is no money for maintenance. Expanding and improving the infrastructure remains a financial and technical challenge for the future. The government's reform programme for 2016–2025 aims to decentralise the water sector and clarify the roles and responsibilities of the different actors involved.
Decentralising water management
Water user associations assume responsibility for day-to-day operations and maintenance at local level. The SDC's programme helps these actors gain the know-how they need to make sure supply systems function properly and are well maintained. It also promotes effective sanitation methods, which are key to preventing contamination of water sources and aquifers. This in turn helps maintain the public health benefits of access to clean drinking water.
The overall goal of the project is to improve the quality of life of 70,000 people in Eastern Khatlon and the GBAO by implementing sustainable water management and sanitation mechanisms. The project includes an equal representation of women and young people in managing and operating the infrastructure and enables them to address their specific needs. Another element is to disseminate good hygiene practices in order to reduce water-related health risks.